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The Association of Small Bombs: A Novel by…

The Association of Small Bombs: A Novel (2016)

by Karan Mahajan

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4653131,725 (3.61)60


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At the opening a car bomb explodes in a crowded market in Delhi and kills 2 Hindi brothers and injures their Muslim friend. The rest of the book is an examination of the direct impact of terrorism. From the kid's parents, to the surviving friend to the bomb maker himself. A fascinating read. ( )
  mahsdad | Jul 29, 2018 |
A terribly difficult book to read but the premise is true and something to drive home. All players in this -- terrorists, victims, bystanders, farstanders -- are maimed by violence. The reverberations of killing, torture, hate are endemic. No one sees themselves in the wrong, all feel justified and vengence/retribution will always be in play. Again, a very difficult book. Loosely biographical. FABULOUS writing.
  splinfo | May 6, 2018 |
Dull. This is another one of those books that's getting a ton of hype but is absolutely not worth the accolades. It was a disappointment because it sounded fascinating: a look at what happens after a terrorist attack and how it affects the ones left behind: the friend who survived, the parents of two of the victims, etc.
It's frustrating because the author chooses to examine these lives by flipping between different viewpoints. I can't stand this device, although there are some authors who can do it well. Author Mahajan is not one of them. Although the opening chapter was compelling (it describes the blast), the rest of the book quickly goes downhill. There are spurts and bits that are quite compelling: the description of Mansoor as he has survived the blast and walks away from it.
But overall...the book is extremely dull. I'm not sure what it is exactly. I found myself unable to really sympathize much with any of the characters. Perhaps it's due to the format of the storytelling, but there was no one person/no people who I felt particularly compelled to follow and really wanted to know what happened. I had enough to wonder how the book would end, but the book is quite boring. A stronger editor would have probably really helped.
What's interesting is that the negative review is actually rated the most helpful on Amazon...but it doesn't show up on the book's page (you have to click through to read though the review). I just can't help but think this is one of those books that's being pushed really had by the publisher's marketing people but is really not a very good read at all.
There certainly might be some who would enjoy this a lot but I'm scratching my head at the hype. Borrowed from the library, thanks goodness! ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
This book started off really well. The initial description of the bomb going off, the aftermath, and the effects on both the terrorists and the survivors and families was gripping and well depicted. But the further the story got from that first event, the less compelling and believable I found the characters. In some ways they were effective: these are the kind of people that you find all over Delhi, India, probably the world (with analogous cultural characteristics). But as major characters in a story I found them frustrating. No one had agency, no one displayed any kind of resilience or ability to adapt to what happened to them.

A story is more effective if the reader is offered a range of responses to any given event; the variations give life and distinctiveness to each character. Here, I had no idea why each character responded the way they did, except as types. Moreover, things happened over the years succeeding the initial blast which contributed to the deterioration of the characters' conditions and circumstances, but they had no independent effect. Instead, everything was seen through the lens of the bombing. That's how it works for some people, but certainly not for everyone.

By the last 25 percent I was reading just to see how the author pulled everything together. It was a bit of a damp squib. ( )
  Sunita_p | Jan 27, 2018 |
This book was phenomenal and honestly hasn't gotten enough attention, in my opinion. The author does such a beautiful job of weaving the stories together and by the end, you're not confused as to how this character ended up a certain way (though if you had known this is the beginning you would have probably stopped reading). This is so relevant and important. This will start a conversation that I think we all need to have.
  spoteste | Dec 5, 2017 |
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Der US-indische Autor beschreibt in seinem prämierten Roman "In Gesellschaft kleiner Bomben" die Nachwirkungen eines Bombenattentats. Nicht nur im Persönlichen, sondern auch im Sozialen.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525429638, Hardcover)

For readers of Mohsin Hamid, Dave Eggers, Arundhati Roy, and Teju Cole, The Association of Small Bombs is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope

When brothers Tushar and Nakul Khurana, two Delhi schoolboys, pick up their family’s television set at a repair shop with their friend Mansoor Ahmed one day in 1996, disaster strikes without warning. A bomb—one of the many “small” bombs that go off seemingly unheralded across the world—detonates in the Delhi marketplace, instantly claiming the lives of the Khurana boys, to the devastation of their parents. Mansoor survives, bearing the physical and psychological effects of the bomb. After a brief stint at university in America, Mansoor returns to Delhi, where his life becomes entangled with the mysterious and charismatic Ayub, a fearless young activist whose own allegiances and beliefs are more malleable than Mansoor could imagine. Woven among the story of the Khuranas and the Ahmeds is the gripping tale of Shockie, a Kashmiri bomb maker who has forsaken his own life for the independence of his homeland.
Karan Mahajan writes brilliantly about the effects of terrorism on victims and perpetrators, proving himself to be one of the most provocative and dynamic novelists of his generation.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 17 Nov 2015 09:55:11 -0500)

After witnessing his two friends killed by a "small" bomb that detonated in a Dehli marketplace, Mansoor Ahmed becomes involved with a charismatic young activist, whose allegiances and beliefs are more changeable than he could have imagined.

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